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3 Core Habits to a Better Life

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3 Core Habits to a Better Life

We're all facing jam-packed days and deadlines. Things happen that throw of our schedules and our lives, but we all have habits that we don't even recognize until we analyze the day. 

This is the beauty of habit. There are things I need to do, but would rather not have to invest mental calories planning and executing each day. There was a time when I had to intentionally create the change out of clothes—brush teeth—go to bed habit loop. However, now I fight plaque and gingivitis every day without thought.

Habits—a cue, routine, and reward—infuse nearly every action in our life. Someone cuts you off in traffic triggering the anger protocol. You call them a low down dirty scoundrel—or worse. The smell of fresh cookies hits your nostrils and you commence gorging on them as if a judge is timing you for the Guinness Book of World Records.

There are good habit loops that take care of an immediate need: I finish dinner, collect plates, and promptly do the dishes.

And then there are profound habits, like what author of Habit, Charles Duhigg, called keystone habits. These are things that change your trajectory and positively amplify every other pursuit in your life. Exercise, for example, is consistently shown to lead to greater work productivity, mood, creativity, better nutritional choices, a more active day, and everything short of an ability to fly.

The Downfall of Habits
Unfortunately, driven by the age of mass-marketing, most of our societal norms promote less constructive habits. I feel sad and bored. I’ll check Amazon. Buying this will make me happy.

You see, there are also bad habit loops: You see a bite-size Twix on the table at a work meeting and then you eat that bite-size Twix. Or, that annoying leash you call an Apple-watch, buzzes on your arm and you look away from the dinner conversation to see what message has come in—a work email that dominates your focus the rest of the evening.

Societal habits are the hardest to fight. The normal path indoctrinates youth in habits that almost certainly will plague them with poor mental, physical, and emotional health. A 2016 Harvard study predicted that of youth between ages 2 and 19, over 57% will be obese by the time they are 35. This is certainly the current trajectory. In 1970, one in twenty youth were obese, but today that has grown to one in five. Anxiety, depression, suicide rates, and drug-overdoses have seen a similar climb.

The best thing we can do for our kids (and ourselves) is to personally demonstrate a better model. Your personal habits bleed out into your life and shape the institutional habits of your family structure. There is no greater call to get your own affairs in order than the understanding that your actions and attitudes will become your children’s. Strong parents. Strong kids.

Inspiration follows action, it will never consistently precede. Sure, everyone gets excited about the diet or workout that they are sure will turn them into Tony Robbins, but few follow through with their ambitious goals.

Consistent action only happens with habits. Therefore, we’ve found that the best place to start helping people create amazing lives is to help them create powerful habits. The IHD Core Habits are the daily actions that most amplify the joy, possibility, and engagement you feel in each experience and create the most powerful ripple effect into every pursuit.

They change the way you perceive, think, and act. Rather than focus on changing a billion small actions, prioritizing these three habits will permeate the rest of your actions.

Core Habit #1 - Daily Movement Practice
If you’re physically healthy and exercise regularly, that’s about 50% of the picture. There is a rare Winston Churchill exception to this rule, but almost universally happy, successful, fulfilled people are healthy.

 They have a movement practice that has prompted them to develop a better understanding of their nutrition and rejuvenates their mental and physical vigor. This is the foundation their life is built upon.

 Our psychology follows our physiology. The mental is first understood in terms of the physical. If it’s done right, physical exercise becomes a form of mental exercise. It’s a microcosm of all life, predicating the willpower and delayed gratification that underlies all success. At its most basic level, it models the necessity for action to stoke inspiration and change.

Core Habit #2 - Meditation with Gratitude
The human brain is always scanning the Savannah for threats—for what is wrong. Anyone who was inclined to assume every rustling bush would be harmless was eliminated from the gene pool a long time ago. Thus, we’re hardwired to see the negative. Yet, research overwhelmingly indicates negative people are less healthy, less adaptable, and more likely to miss opportunities.

 Your operating system was not intended for the modern environment. It has bugs that require you to update. Practicing gratitude rewires your brain to perceive possibility and appreciate the abundant amazing world we all enjoy.

 Meditation is the essential antidote to 21st-century overstimulation. Despite its frou-frou stigmas, it is the toughest mental training program I know, offering focus and an awareness of current thought patterns.

 From awareness, we learn that our thoughts are not us and, therefore, don’t have to control us. We have the ability to see new perspectives and act with greater emotional control.

Core Habit #3: Feed the Right Wolf
We are assaulted with over 10,000 advertisements a day and the momentum of an entire society hell-bent on consumption, convenience, and comfort. You can only white-knuckle your rebellion from the normal for so long. Systematizing pulls toward your goals may be the most important step in staying on track and making the road to progress a fascinating, inspiring, adventure.

The majority of people wish for change. Few have taken the steps to master themselves. In this guide, we give you the tools to create lasting, adaptable changes that permeate every area of your life.

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